3009 Middlefield Road
Palo Alto, CA 94306
A local legend since 1956, Winter Lodge is “the first and only permanent outdoor ice rink west of the Sierras.” Open late September through mid-April, you can skate under the beautiful night sky. The warm atmosphere at Winter Lodge comes complete with a clubhouse and fireplaces. Open skating sessions, eight-week group lessons and private parties with a barbecue for up to 300 skaters can be accommodated. If you like ice but don’t like skates, bring some friends along to play broomball on the ice in your sneakers!
Related: Eye on the Bay’s Daytrip: Palo Alto
Sharks Ice at San Jose
1500 S. 10th St.
San Jose, CA 95112
Skate where the pros skate. The San Jose Sharks, professional ice hockey team, are sharing their rink with the public. Enjoy a relaxed family outing or perfect your forward choctaw turns on quality ice. In addition to the general admission sessions, there are class lessons, private lessons and hockey lessons available. For those who want to take up the sport, figure skating, ice dancing and synchronized skating are offered from tiny tot to advanced levels.
Downtown San Jose
120 S. Market St.
San Jose, CA 95113
Here’s a traditionally popular outdoor spot for skaters who don’t mind being observed by scores of onlookers. Especially for the holidays from November 13, 2012 through January 13, 2013, skaters glide, twirl and take spills on San Jose’s ice under the twinkling lights of the Circle of Palms between the Fairmont Hotel and the San Jose Museum of Art. There’s late-night skating until midnight every Friday and Saturday and all seven nights a week for the holidays from December 15, 2012 through January 5, 2013. Plan ahead as there are no lockers or restrooms.
Nazareth Ice Oasis
3140 Bay Road
Redwood City, CA 94063
For some skaters, nothing is more important than the quality of the surface. Known to have good ice, Stanford University’s ice hockey team calls this rink home. Your family can too. Celebrate then next birthday here with an ice skating-themed party. There’s a hockey shop, a grill upstairs with a bar, free Wifi and children’s menu and seating overlooking the skaters or outdoors on the terrace.
Ice Center at San Mateo
2202 Bridgepointe Parkway
San Mateo, CA 94404
Decorations and Christmas lights go up in season to set a festive mood, but you can skate here even on the hottest of summer days. Remember to load up on clothing layers because it’s cold inside. If parents decide to wait it out while the kids skate, there are plenty of spectator seats. Stores and food outlets at the adjacent shopping mall are handy, too. Storage lockers and skate rental are available at this rink.
Laurie JM Farr is a freelance writer covering all things San Francisco. A transplanted New Yorker, she has traveled throughout the world as the Big Apple’s official tourism representative. She served as organizer for three Royal Visits to America. As an international relocation consultant, Laurie assisted more than 400 families with overseas moves and is a proud mother of two, thoroughly bi-cultural children. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.